It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything of significance on nuclear power, renewables, and the impacts of fossil fuels; but that does not mean nothing has been going on. Here is a (hopefully) brief update of my views. I will put most of my website references down below if you want further reading.
The nuclear dinosaur industry trudges along. The Feds gave approval to the construction of two reactors in Georgia, with an $8.5 billion public subsidy/loan guarantee. We’ll now see if the estimated $14 billion project is completed by 2016, and if it comes in on budget. I have a steak dinner riding on this.
Meanwhile, the other participants in the “nuclear renaissance of 2006” are falling by the wayside. In Florida, where they are already charging customers for construction of two plants that will never get built (isn’t this a tax?…where’s Norquist?), the estimated cost has gone from $5 billion to $22.4 billion…even Progress Energy says this will never be built. Here is a link to the best article in recent time on the cost issues with nuclear.
As for the waste issues, nothing new other than the fact that the Blue Ribbon Commission has started that there is NO solution to the radioactive waste problem. Proponents of reprocessing/recycling are being struck a vital blow with the continued problems at Hanford’s vitrification plant, of which we would have to build 5, 10, 20? if were to seriously do reprocessing. This plant is half complete, has huge technical problems, and so far is up to $12 billion. This was to cost $1 billion and was to start operating in 1998.
One year down the road for Fukushima, and things don’t bode well there. It seems the 4 reactors have been somewhat stabilized, but there are huge technical challenges as to what to do next. It will be years before they can even begin to do any kind of cleanup, and that may never happen. Meanwhile, some 100,000 people have been driven from their land, homes, and livelihood, and the economy has taken its toll. I’m surprised that with 53/54 nuclear plants shut down, the Japanese are not living in caves in the dark and eating uncooked food…oops! We’ll never know the health significance of the disaster, since lies, cover-ups, and incompetence prevailed during and after in this highly organized and technical society. Of course the industry continues to spread the propaganda that it wasn’t so bad, and everything is ok now; it can never happen in the US.
The renewable energy industry continues to struggle against all the might that is being thrown at it by the fossil fuel industries. However, despite political and economic setbacks, the deployment of wind and solar is slowly growing and slowly adding to the amount of electricity in our grid; and in spite of the global economic downturn, is doing quite well in other parts of the world. Solar is slowly reaching the point where it doesn’t need subsidies in Germany and Spain. It’s interesting that the big problem seems to be that the production costs are GOING DOWN…creates all kinds of havoc in the manufacturing industry…we didn’t seem to have this problem with the rapid decrease in costs that the computer/chip industry went through back in the ‘90’s and on.
But then, this is all closely linked to the Climate Change issue, so we see huge amounts of money and effort by the Koch brothers and their Heartland Institute and their Cato Institute, Karl Rove and his Crossroads GPS, and all the other big energy players really doing a number on America. The whole Solyndra bankruptcy appears to have been an intentional setup, and it’s interesting that the all-knowing Imhoff from Oklahoma recently said he once believed in climate change, until the money talked to him…God did too!
So in these hilarious times, we can sit back and watch the clowns spend their money and spout their lies…meanwhile the sun still shines, and the wind still blows.
Some interesting reads: